Share this entry

Share this page


Syllabification: im·bibe
Pronunciation: /imˈbīb

Definition of imbibe in English:


[with object] formal or humorous
1Drink (alcohol): they were imbibing far too many pitchers of beer [no object]: having imbibed too freely, he fell over
More example sentences
  • But, whatever the reason, men no longer imbibe alcohol so freely, especially during the day, as they did a few years ago.
  • The company claims that if you take this pill, you will need less alcohol to stay drunk, so will imbibe less.
  • Research has found that children who imbibe soft drinks tend to consume more calories than those who don't.
drink, consume, quaff, guzzle, gulp (down)
informal knock back, down, swill, chug
drink (alcohol), take strong drink, tipple
informal booze, knock a few back, hit the bottle, bend one's elbow
1.1Absorb or assimilate (ideas or knowledge): she had imbibed the gospel of modernism from Kandinsky
More example sentences
  • I wonder if young medics busy imbibing knowledge and collecting degrees will see some simple truths: There is a need for more doctors in Community Medicine; and we badly want good General Practitioners.
  • The Mongols may have imbibed ideas about manoeuvre warfare from captive Chinese, but it is more likely they did it by instinct.
  • When they went to summer camps, guards patrolled the perimeter and the inmates spent every waking moment imbibing the thoughts of the master.
assimilate, absorb, soak up, take in, drink in, digest, learn, acquire, grasp, pick up, familiarize oneself with
1.2chiefly Botany (Especially of seeds) absorb (water) into ultramicroscopic spaces or pores.
Example sentences
  • A permeable seed imbibes water readily when available, while an impermeable one does not take up water for days or longer.
  • Until a seed imbibes water and begins to grow, weeders and cultivators have little effect.
  • Seeds which had loose and damaged seed coats imbibed water very rapidly and were discarded during the first hour of imbibition.
1.3 Botany Place (seeds) in water in order to absorb it.
Example sentences
  • Seeds were imbibed in aerated water overnight and planted in pots filled with soil.
  • When seeds are imbibed with water, the cells in the cotyledon tissues begin to expand quickly.
  • Seeds were imbibed in water overnight and then sown on absorbent paper in plastic trays and allowed to germinate in the dark for 6 d at which stage the hypocotyls were harvested.


late Middle English (in the senses 'absorb or cause to absorb moisture' and 'take into solution'): from Latin imbibere, from in- 'in' + bibere 'to drink'.



Example sentences
  • The new magazine's managing editor promises information for both the seasoned wine drinker and the occasional imbiber.
  • The site offers colourful graphics and specialty products such as T-shirts and glassware, as well as amusing quotations from some of absinthe's most famous imbibers.
  • Cigar smokers and after-dinner imbibers reside next door in the even woodier Connoisseur Club.


Pronunciation: /ˌimbəˈbiSHən/
(chiefly Botany )
Example sentences
  • When cucumber seeds are placed in a horizontal position for germination, initiation of peg formation becomes visible on the concave side of the transition zone between 18 h and 24 h after imbibition.
  • The authors suggested the existence of two distinct programmes operating after seed imbibition, one driving germination and the other driving reserve mobilization during early post-germinative growth.
  • Thirty-five days after imbibition, the length of the longest adventitious root on each plant was recorded, and the porosity of selected adventitious roots was measured.

Definition of imbibe in:

Share this entry

Share this page


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day Sprachgefühl
Pronunciation: ˈʃprɑːxɡəˌfuːl
intuitive understanding of a language’s natural idiom…